Anyone For A Game of 52 Card Pickup? That Transfer Window In Full


Chaos, Chaos, Chaos

Darren Bent reveals his true worth to 'Appy 'Arry Redknapp - or possibly his cut from his recent deal

Like throwing sticks up in the air just to make pretty new patterns. This was a window just to shake things up a bit just for the sake of it. One thing is clear, this is a season of unprecedented, catastrophic change – if it was a weather system everyone would be going global warming on our arse. However, the seedy reality of the window is that it’s been musical chairs for a bunch of existing Prem strikers with talent generally flowing up the table, a bunch of middleweights doing the out on loan thing to get experience generally flowing down the table and a trickle of genuinely new talent coming in – Top Cheat Dirty Suarez (for it is he) to Loserpool, Dzeko to Middle Eastlands and Luiz to Chelski, along with some unheard-ofs to the likes of Real Blackburn. So really not much in the way of infusing new life into the Prem. More moving the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Table toppers Man U and Arsenal must feel they have the squads to compete for the whole season (or in Arsenal’s case until the middle of March, by which time they will have won the Useless Cup, been stuffed in the Big Cup, lost further ground in the Prem and possibly still be in with a shout of the FA Cup so won’t really need that great a strength in depth). The Mini-Mancs must feel the Dzeko is their missing piece of their Big Four puzzle, while Chelski are betting that Torres and Luiz can turn their season around, hopefully win them the Big Cup and certainly ensure a Big Four place. And if Torres can score on his debut against Loserpool that will be a Super Schadenfreude bonus.

Loserpool have come out alright, if not better, which is the golden rule for transfer dealing. While £50 million for Torres is great business, and getting rid of Konchesky is like buying a new player, £6 million for Babel is simply sensational – most teams would have had to pay to have garbage like that taken away. In their place they get Top Cheat Dirty Suarez from the World Cup Home of Cheating, and Ponytailed Criminal Andy Carroll from the North East House of Toon (or in his case the house of club captain Kevin Nolan where he is imprisoned). They could be fantastic or terrifyingly awful together, but they will ensure Loserpool are a damn sight more entertaining to watch than they have been for ages. Or they could simply ensure that Loserpool become the single most detested team in the league. Still it’s not enough to get them Big Cup action next season, but might just be enough to win the Little Cup this year, which would be a great result in a rebuilding season. Have to laugh that they’ve also taken a loaner from Coventry. Are they only paying half his wages too? Surely they could have afforded to buy him, he must feel like the class weed now. Let’s hope nice headmaster Mr Dalglish ensures he’s not bullied by the very much bigger kids.

Who’s A Loser Then?

Big losers? Newcastle can’t be too big losers, they got an insane return on a striker who’s only played half a Prem season. Pride aside, they couldn’t turn down a British Record £35 million for a striker who’s currently injured, has a career total of 32 goals (that’s a career total mind from 91 career games) and has potentially ruinous off-field problems (like the occasional 10 pint plus drinking habit). Carroll couldn’t turn down a massive money multiplier move where he’ll be undisputed top dog and where he gets to move out of Kevin Nolan’s kennel. And Newcastle have enough points to be safe this season and enough money to add to their squad during the summer (although I’d be very wary of letting Pardew make any transfer decisions). Admittedly taking on basket case Stephen Ireland is either a big gamble or a misguided attempt to collect all the Prem’s most mentally challenged and issue-ridden midfielders into a single team (in which case where’s the space for a returning Lee Bowyer?). In fact, what with their owner and management, why restrict it to midfielders?

Sunderland aren’t really big losers either. They’ve got Asamoah Gyan to replace Bent, a reliable loaner no2 in Muntari and a handy wedge to offer Man U for Welbeck in the summer, although if Carroll is worth £35 million, it seems that letting the Prem’s top goalscorer (24 goals in 38 Prem matches last season) go for £24 million now looks like carelessness. Where’s that extra ten big ones eh?

Villa themselves seem to have done well. Last year’s top Prem goalscorer for £24 million, which looked risky only a week ago, now looks an absolute steal, while managing to get rid of Crappy Carew, useless defender Curtis Davies (to Boremingham no less), going nowhere former talent Sidwell and moody baldhead Ireland looks like genius business – especially given they’ve offloaded most of them to direct competitors and one of them to hated local rivals, theoretically making them all worse off. And there are still some people who eulogise over Martin O’Neill and his squad-building acumen. Houllier’s recruitment of Michael Bradley and Makoun looks to be a classic case of trading up, although not quite to first class.

In the vaguely successful class you might as well put Real Blackburn. Admittedly they’ve bought a dog in resigning Rocquette Santa Crud, who is not only shite, but has managed to injure himself too. Still their new foreign boy could be good, while offloading personality shit bag El Hadji Diouff to equally obnoxious bigot club Rangers is possibly the most kharmically perfect transfer of the whole window. Shit really does roll uphill. All the way to Ibrox.

Top of the loser pile is, surprisingly, Tottingham. Normally ‘Arry and Levy can be relied upon to pull a fast one out of the fire every transfer window, witness the purchase of Van Der Vaart for £8 million in August. This time, however, they’ve been up to their usual tricks of ‘pressing up’ every name they can get in the papers with next to no chance of actually ever getting anyone. They are the ultimate teasers, spreading their names about like phone box fancies while never having to actually follow through on their deals. They can talk all they like about making unrealistic ‘£30 million’  offers for various Spanish strikers, but none of them were ever remotely likely to leave the tax friendly reserve of La Liga, so it’s all supporter placating bullshit (besides which many have already arranged their Summer 2011 moves – as they say, “all the fish are already sold”). But they’ve been out-foxed this time as both Man City and Chelski have emerged far stronger in February than they were at the turn of the year. Tottingham’s sole buys have been long punts on Kuhlumo and Pienaar, who in addition to not being very good is yet another midfielder who will mess up their formation without adding anything that the likes of second stringers like Jenus and Hoddlestone couldn’t have contributed. You suspect that Pienaar, who said he signed for Spurs rather than Chelski because of their ‘ambition’, should have actually spoken to someone serious at Chelski before making his mind up. With Tottingham’s squad, especially their defence, looking increasingly anaemic, they are in for a hard fight to secure a Big Cup, Big Four position, which would be something of a disaster for them. What’s a Big Cup position worth? How about keeping hold of Bale, Modric et al, financing that new stadium and keeping you in with the big boys. Fifth this season would be a catastrophe.

In fact the loser pile is exclusively made up of clubs that didn’t make moves, whether that’s Tottingham who Pienaar aside somehow couldn’t get it together, or Everton, who simply have no money.

Stoke are also there with the losers, although they are simply reverting to type, getting rid of vaguely skillful players like Tuncay and bringing in dross like Carew and Pennant.

In the battle of the Ws, who all are playing like they think the Prem table should naturally be arranged in alphabetical order, competition has been fierce. West Ham have used a patented scattergun effect, recruiting widely but badly from a list of other club’s Prem cast-offs – Bridge, Keane etc, overpaid and underplayed journeymen who don’t seem to fit into any coherent plan. Unusually, Wolves seem to have recruited exclusively from the lower divisions, which simply means any new faces will feel immediately at home once the Wolves have been relegated. Wigan seem to be trying to go one better and have recruited exclusively from Scotland. While West Brom (who would be safe in 17th if only the table were organised alphabetically), have gone for class in getting Arsenal’s Carlos Vela on loan. Only one of these seems like an intelligent policy.

Finally, possibly the single biggest individual loser is, strangely enough, one Darren Bent. In some ways it’s typical for Bent. Not only has last year’s top Prem goalscorer had his thunder well and truly stolen by the Torres/Carroll juggernaut, but he’s clearly nowhere near the most expensive British player. Sure he had all the publicity for approximately a week, but he wasn’t even the biggest story of the Transfer Window.

So, the Prem’s been all shook up, now we get to see all the pretty patterns. Game on!

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